Navigation
Topic: Design

Give your design decisions a solid foundation

"What kind of apps do people rely on daily?" and other good questions

Ever wonder how people use smartphones everyday? Or what impact social login options could have for a product? The product design experts at Zurb curate Design Quips, a collection of questions like these that are answered with data from real research from around the world. Quips come in the form of easily quotable factoids on topics ranging from how consumers react to different types of content to where emerging markets are growing quickest. I’ve used Quips myself to help backup gut feelings about an app or to help guide how a decision is made. Nothing beats research you can design yourself, but Quips definitely help to fill in gaps or provide support when doing your own research isn’t an option.

Happy Monday

What a weekend! I’m sitting in our new apartment, dog at my feet, boxes on all sides, thankful for our excellent wifi connection. These past few days was a whirlwind of moving but I think the worst is behind us. The rest of August is all about putting our new home together. Fun!

  • I’ve just discovered Moodboard, a quick way to curate and publish a collection of images. Looks like it might fill part of the Icebergs hole now that they’re shutting down.
  • Our new fridge isn’t magnet-friendly (insert sad emoji here!) but maybe you can make one of these 10 easy & adorable DIY magnets for me.
  • Have you explored Twitter’s Analytics tool yet? Blog Clarity has a great overview of how to access these handy metrics and a few ways to interpret the numbers.

(appropriate illustration via Zoe-Zoe Sheen on Dribbble)

Continuous learning with Gibbon

Continuous Learning with Gibbon on Miss Venn

Have you discovered Gibbon yet? It’s a still-young startup based in the Netherlands that is my new favorite learning app. Gibbon harnesses the amazing wealth of content already published online to power its peer-to-peer learning network.

There are a bunch of other options out there to help you learn. Some, like Treehouse, focus on tech and offer lessons in web design and development. Udemy offers classes in all sorts of things (including how to teach online courses!), but many of them cost money. Most of the services use videos and other rich media to attempt to replicate a classroom setting that caters to visual learners. The courses tend to be more formal and sometimes even scheduled as with the Stanford online courses.

Gibbon, on the other hand, is a more casual, “set it and forget it,” kind of learning experience. Once you choose topics that interest you and set how often you want to learn you don’t have to do anything else. Well, nothing besides actually learning! Gibbon will send you a daily, weekly, or monthly selection of readings from your chosen topics as a reminder to check in and read or watch something.

All the learnable content in Gibbon comes from its users, which is another reason I love it. Anyone can sign up and create a “playlist”, which is a topic full of educational content. For example, this User Experience Design from A-Z playlist is full of 99 articles about user experience, all curated specifically to take a learner from “what is UX?” to solving complex experience problems.

Gibbon figures out an approximate reading time for each “chapter” in a playlist which the system uses to build the reminder emails. Every morning I get an email with around 10 minutes of content in it. And because I subscribe to more than one playlist I sometimes get articles on different topics. I’ve been loving the wake up call! Each day I get a cup of coffee and settle in to spend 10 minutes focussed on learning. The articles are shown in a beautiful distraction-free view that let’s you read without wandering away. And the end of each playlist “chapter” has a big “Mark as Learned” button for a satisfying this-is-done feeling.

Gibbon - Playlist view
Gibbon - How much do you want to learn?
Gibbon - Article comments
Gibbon - Learning view
My Gibbon profile

What I’m Learning

My own profile is mostly full of design- and management-focussed playlists. Gibbon and I haven’t been close for that long but I’ve already found several articles to tuck away for reference later. “Jumping Through the Hurdles of Brainstorming” from Pete Sena’s Leadership playlist and “Dare to be Boring” from Gibbon co-founder Wouter de Bres’s Becoming a Better Designer playlist both resonated with me.

Gibbon is free to join as a learner or teacher, but paid plans are available for private playlists. I see a few interesting applications of the paid plans. Teachers could ask students to create playlists throughout a semester, for example, to help teach continuous learning. Or accelerator mentors could build playlists for specific teams to help them grow and succeed. So many options!

What are you learning?

Happy Monday

It’s a big week y’all: we’re moving house! This time next week I’ll be up on the fourth floor in a cozy apartment. Can’t wait until we’re settled in! To kick this week off right I collected a few thought-provoking pieces from Medium to get your gears moving:

(image via)

Always, always, always, have respect for your users

“What is responsive web design if not an attempt to treat users with respect? In adopting this practice, we no longer dictate how websites should be viewed but have moved towards a more discursive approach, one that is adaptive to user needs. Yet this responsibility should extend beyond concerns about page layout; performance and accessibility are just as important (if not more so) as these aspects actively limit who can and can’t access the products we’re building.”

Paul Robert Lloyd

The Pursuit of Laziness: Thoughts from Responsive Day Out

Treating users with respect should be a key component to any design, not just responsive ones! Click through to read more about some potential responsive web design principles.

How to Use Persona Empathy Mapping

The really cool thing about this UX Magazine article is that it includes a workshop outline! I <3 workshopping, especially with people from all around an organization. It’s a great way to get people talking to each other in a way that everyone can understand. If I were running this workshop and had tons of room I’d probably set up the empathy maps on the walls ahead of time. That way participants could focus on getting their thoughts out and mapped, instead of setting things up.

How to Use Persona Empathy Mapping

The really cool thing about this UX Magazine article is that it includes a workshop outline! I <3 workshopping, especially with people from all around an organization. It’s a great way to get people talking to each other in a way that everyone can understand. If I were running this workshop and had tons of room I’d probably set up the empathy maps on the walls ahead of time. That way participants could focus on getting their thoughts out and mapped, instead of setting things up.